BYU ultimate frisbee is about more than championships

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The BYU Men’s Ultimate Frisbee Club is full of athletes from many sports and walks of life who, despite their differences, share a common passion for the disc.

“Ultimate is the best sport in the world,” said David Kartchner, the club’s defensive coach. “Ultimate allows you to compete, and it doesn’t matter what your athletic background is.”

Nathan Craig makes a no-look pass in a tournament for the BYU ultimate frisbee team. Photo courtesy BYU Men's Ultimate.
Nathan Craig makes a no-look pass in a tournament for the BYU ultimate frisbee team. Photo courtesy BYU Men’s Ultimate.

The team consists of players from basketball, track, soccer, wrestling and many other sports. Last year BYU’s club team was ranked in the top 30 in the nation for college ultimate teams — and that is without playing on Sundays. Almost all of the tournaments are over the course of Saturdays and Sundays. BYU forfeits every Sunday game which means it rarely gets the chance to play a championship game.

“We have a two-prong approach — we want to build the relation with those in our community and we want to be seen as a legitimate sport, not just a recreation activity,” said Bryce Merrill, former player and now coach of the team.

The team looks to be an example of the university and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when it plays in tournaments. The club has had opportunities to travel all over the country playing other college clubs and as much as the team loves winning, players love being an example of the school’s standards even more.

“I will bring missionary pass-along cards to every tournament,” said team captain Brad McKeen. “When we forfeit matches on Sundays we have a lot of people asking us why we do it, and that gives me the opportunity to spread the gospel.”

Last year the team played No. 10 Florida, eventually losing by one point. After the game the Gators went on to say they wished BYU could play on Sundays in a championship setting.

“Through our example we are hoping to get the Saturday-Sunday tournament format changed,” Merrill said. “We are hoping to get to such a high level the league has to change the tournament format just like BYU’s rugby team did.”

Members hope to boast the best college team in the nation in the next two to three years. Coach Merrill is recruiting athletes and developing the team’s skills to reach this goal.

“It’s a beautiful sport with a lot of athletic talent,” Merrill said. “If you want to see some fantastic catches and fast plays with a lot of action, come by and see us play.”

For more information on the club, like it on Facebook under BYU Men’s Ultimate.

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